Tomorrow morning, I leave for New York City. One of my all-time favorite cities. And New York in the fall….have you ever been? Ahhhhh so refreshing. The air, the people, the weather and the changing leaves in Central Park. It’s a perfect time of year.
Who am I going with you might ask? Well I am going alone of course. Isn’t that what most normal people do when they book a trip to New York City?
When I tell people this, their reaction is priceless. The look of shock and confusion are immediately visible across their face.
By yourself?! Gasp! Why would you do that? How do you know how to get around? What will you do all ALONE? Isn’t New York City dangerous?!
Going on a “vacation” in most of our minds is meant to be shared with others in order to be enjoyed. After all, the whole point of vacation is to disconnect and give ourselves a break from the hustle and bustle of our own lives. But who says that can’t be done by traveling alone?
Instead of staying in a swanky hotel like I did last year, I decided to rent an apartment in the East Village to get a really good feel of what it’s like to be a true New Yorker. You know….Carrie Bradshaw style. I’m just going to enjoy my little studio apartment, visit coffee shops, eat incredible food, people watch, go to concerts and breathe in the cool, crisp fall air of New York City. By myself.
A few wonderful feelings I get from traveling alone:
Independence: You CAN do this and you will figure out how. You are not being thrown to the wolves. Maps are helpful, strangers are helpful, apps for the subways are amazing…we are more resilient than we will ever know. And being in new situations will show us exactly how resilient we are.
Fresh Perspective: I often get warned about the dangers of NYC. It is nice to see how friendly and pleasant the people can really be. Also, their way of life is much different than mine and I love being submersed in that, even for just a long weekend. Small things like the fact that people don’t have cars in the city. I am not used to that lifestyle and I love it.
Disconnection: Sure you can go to dinner alone and pull your phone out and stare at it the whole time. But I’m going to bet that’s not what you do. I enjoy my meal with no conversation, no social media and listen in on everything going on around me. How often do we go to dinner, alone, and just soak it in? Pay attention to your surroundings. It gives you an opportunity to truly be in the moment, something we don’t do often enough.
When I returned home from my last solo trip, I felt like I had accomplished something spectacular. And I had. Although it was just another vacation, I had disconnected and reconnected in a totally different way. Something I would not have been able to do at home or with others.
Travel alone. Even if it’s just a day. Book the trip. Be present. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You never know what little things will spark even greater things.